A Simple Explanation

This is a device designed to monitor the heartbeat and restore it to back to normal heart rhythm, by performing remedial measures like an electrical shock.

What is it?

An Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD) is a small electronic device that is implanted into a patient’s chest to monitor and correct Arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm. AICD delivers an electrical shock to the heart when a life-threatening change in the heart’s rhythm is detected.

AICD performs cardioversion, defibrillation and also functions as a pacemaker. Cardioversion is the procedure to convert an abnormally fast heartbeat to one with a normal rhythm. Defibrillation is the treatment of life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias or arrhythmias, by delivering a dose of electric current to the heart.

The AICD is small enough to be implanted under the skin of the upper chest. The AICD system consists of:

  • A Pulse generator to send an electrical shock
  • Electrodes to sense the heart’s rhythm and to deliver shock to the heart muscle
  • Batteries that can last 4 – 5 years and generate around 100 shocks A small programmable computer chip that tells the AICD when to deliver the electric shock.

Who needs it?

AICD is recommended for patients who are at a risk of sudden death. It gives the appropriate treatment and in most cases can prevent death. The AICD is suggested for the patients:

  • Whose heart suddenly stops
  • With ventricular arrhythmia or excessive heartbeats
  • Had a heart attack
  • Survived a sudden cardiac arrest
  • Long QT Syndrome, a disorder of the heart’s electrical system.
  • Brugada syndrome, genetic disease that gives an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) findings
  • Congenital heart disease

The Implantation Procedure


  • The patient must fast for 4-8 hours before the procedure.
  • Inform the doctor the medications that are presently being used.
  • Perform the diagnostic tests like blood tests, Chest X-rays, ECG’s and other tests that the doctor has prescribed.

The Implantation

The implantation procedure usually takes an hour or two. The patient is first given a sedative to relax. Then the area below the collarbone is given local anaesthesia at the insertion site to numb the local area.

An incision is made to insert the AICD. The lead wires are then guided through a vein to the heart and then tested to know their position. Then the pulse generator is inserted and then the leads are connected to it. The incision is closed and sewn together and a small dressing is applied.

Post – Procedure

  • The patient’s heart rhythms are monitored.
  • Any sign of bleeding or swelling at the incision site is checked.
  • The patient will be put under observation for sometime.
  • Patient is advised not to do any heavy lifting and other strenuous activities.

The patient will need regular follow-up visits to the doctor to monitor the device, once discharged from the hospital.

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Billroth Hospitals,
43, Lakshmi Talkies Road, Shenoy Nagar,



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